blissful eats with Tina Jeffers: Blackberries every which way

This week I fell victim to the farmers market and came home with an entire flat of blackberries.  They were just so sweet, so beautiful, I couldn’t resist.  So I’ve been scrambling all week trying to find as many ways as possible to use these beauties in dishes both savory and sweet. 

I started my journey with this super easy blackberry sage cooler...

Then moved on to a freekeh salad with a blackberry vinaigrette...

I also made a simple fruit salad with basil syrup...

Which finally brings me to our recipe, a blackberry buttermilk cake.  This cake is perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea and if you top it with the blackberry sauce it makes it irresistible.  The wine and spices helps balance the sweetness and makes it a little more sophisticated.  Even if you don’t want to make the cake you should try the sauce, I’ve been enjoying it on Greek yogurt with chopped pistachios.

I’m thinking about making some blackberry jam with the remaining lot and spreading it on a Panini with some thinly sliced ham and brie, what do you think?  After my whirlwind week of cooking and eating I’ve come to one conclusion; I can’t wait until the next blackberry season.

If you'd like to see the recipes for the other blackberry dishes I've mentioned, be sure to visit me at!


Buttermilk Blackberry Cake

Adapted from epicurious


For the saucy berries: 

2 pints of blackberries

1 cup of wine

½ cup of sugar (if your berries are very tart you may want to increase to ¾ cup)

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

2 cloves


For the cake:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup finely ground cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

zest of one lemon, grated

1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries


For the cake:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer on medium high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy 2-3 minutes, then beat in vanilla and lemon zest.  Add the egg and beat well.

Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour and mix until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the blackberries over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1½ tablespoons of sugar.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is golden and a tested inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

For the sauce:

Tie up the herbs in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.  

In a medium saucepan place one pint of the berries with the sugar, wine and spice bundle.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let cook for 30 minutes or until your mixture is reduced, syrupy and coats the back of a spoon.   

Pass the sauce through a fine mesh strainer crushing the berries to remove the seeds.  Return the strained mixture to the heat, add the remaining pint of blackberries and cook just until the berries are coated with the syrup and heated through.   

Serve the sauce on top of the cake, use any extra sauce on top of ice cream or yogurt.

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